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You are a Cameroonian that grew up in Spain but you are also very passionate about Nigeria what is the connection?
I adopted Nigeria like five years ago. I love Nigeria like I love Cameroon; the two countries are part of me because both are very close. I am a Nigerian in the spirit. I am from Cameroun but I grew up in Spain. Most of my friends, both artistes and non-artistes, are all Nigerians. When I decided to come home for my solo career, Nigeria was one of the places I considered for my music because there is really a tremendous boost in the Nigerian entertainment industry. I could not go solo before because of my group in Spain but now that the group is on standby, I can do my solo thing. Immediately I came back to Africa, I went to Cameroon to drop my album and the next place I headed for was Nigeria. I came here and it was not a mistake and I have decided to drop a Nigerian album.
Why do you call it a Nigerian album?
I call it a Nigerian album because the album I dropped in Cameroon was my European album. I gave the first exclusive show in Cameroon before the Spanish media. So Cameroon had the opportunity to review that album for me before I went abroad to remix some part of that same album. It was amazing to give that exclusive to my brothers and sisters because it was my dream. I came to Nigeria last year for a few weeks and left and I came back again because I want to drop an album in Nigeria. I want people around me to see that I am serious about saying that I am a Nigerian in the spirit.
Why don’t you want to drop the European version of your album in Nigeria?
I don’t want to drop the European version because I want to do something that makes me feel like any other artiste. I want to work with typical African producers on this album, especially Nigerian producers. I want to work with people whom I have always wanted to work with in Africa and this time, I have the opportunity to do that and not mixing it with European culture like my first album. This album that would be coming out will be a typical me. People will find me in the album. Even though I might have some songs in Spanish tongue, it is going to have an African flow and beat. It is going to be an album that is going to talk about me and where I come from. I will be using Yoruba, pidgin, French and Spanish languages. Believe it, there are great potentialities in Nigerian music industry, you should go outside here and see how Nigerian musicians are adored. I say I am a Nigerian, I believe in Nigeria and I’m all out to tap into the potential in the music scene and I’m enthusiastic that it will be awesome.
How soon will this collaboration with Nigerian music artistes and producers be?
I already have a single on air called Tonight Omo Ele and it was produced by Xpole here in Nigeria. The video was shot by Clarence Peters. I have another single called My Body that just came out and it was produced by a Nigerian called Sax. I have other songs like ‘I dey Craze for You’, ‘I go show you’ and few others that are produced by Nigerian producers. There is one of my songs that will be remixed by MI and I will also be featuring him in it. I will also have a song with Ruggedman. There is a lot of collaboration that is going on about this album and all will have to do with my African producers and artistes. I look forward to working with Tuface, Banky W, P-square as my entertainer champions on stage. Tuface is a very humble person even with his status; I was telling my crew that I might collapse out of joy in the studio the day I do a song with Tuface. Trust me, Nigerian artistes are bigger than what people think down here and I am proud I am an African because of them.
Aside your album, what other things attracted you to Nigeria?
Nigerian people are wonderful. I feel at home when I am here. I came in December last year to do my song Omo Ele. People thought I did not mean it when I said I was coming back to Nigeria. I have been here for a while now and as the day goes by, I love something. I am here because I love the people and I love what I do and for me, no amount of money or tour can cover how I feel being among my own people. I was not in Spain when the Spanish football team came home with the World Cup. The girls were around and there was a carnival in Spain for the win but I was not there. I was here in Nigeria. I want to be proud of working with my brothers and sisters. I have always looked forward to doing my music here in Africa where I belong and now is my opportunity to do that. But I am still touring round Africa and United Kingdom while working on my solo album and I will still come back to Nigeria at the end.
Can you tell us how you nurtured your music talent?
Music has always been something I wanted to do since I was eight years old. I used to see my mum and my sisters singing in the choir. I always told my mum from then that I wanted to sing and that I wanted to be a pop star, but my mum would always tell me to face my studies. I begged her to get me into the choir and she helped me into the choir when I was eight years old. One day, I was asked to coordinate the teenage choir in the church. People really applauded my performance with the teenage choir. As people were clapping for me, I knew at that moment that was what I wanted to do. That was how everything about music started for me. When I was 12, I made my first appearance on TV, a national TV in my country called CRTV. The show I featured in was all about choosing an artiste that you love and interpreting the artiste the best way you can. That was what helped me to showcase my talent. It was a monthly show and after my first time in the show, I was always chosen to perform on TV. When I went into college, I was representing my school everywhere in Cameroon. It was something I wanted to do even though my parents were not happy about it.
So what was their reaction to your love for music?
My parents did not want me to mix my studies with anything. My sister who was singing before me gave up because of the pressure from my parents but I didn’t. My parents were very tough. My dad is a military man. They sent me abroad to stop all the music madness around me in Cameroon because the music thing was getting too much. My mother wanted me to be a diplomat in languages. When I was abroad, I had to keep convincing them that I was facing my studies, but the music pressure did not allow me to finish after I joined the girls band. I was studying languages though I did not finish, I could still speak the languages. I speak five different languages — Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and English. As I was saying, it was a massive fight between me and my parents before I got to where I am right now in my music career. They sent me abroad when I was 16 because they could not handle the music pressure in college back in Cameroon. In a day, I would be performing in five different places.
But it did not occur to them that they could be sending me fully into music scene by sending me away.
My dad stopped many parties and events I performed in with military men and police. I was being embarrassed all the time. But it did not stop me. The worst embarrassment I had was when I was representing my college in a national contest of all colleges. They chose the best college of the year from the competition. The show was a very important one for me and my dad came to the venue with many military men and policemen and they dragged me off the stage. It was very crazy. It was the talk of town that time. I did not feel all the other embarrassments he had given to me before like the one that happened that day. I shut myself indoors for days because the disgrace was too much for me. Those other ones were parties and events with few people I knew as my friends but that show meant more to me and I thought I could never recover from the embarrassment.
Was it hard for you to forgive him?
It was but I did forgive him because finally, it was my dad that helped me convince my mum when they learnt that I was still singing when I was abroad. My mum used to be very down because of that.
How did you convince your dad about your music career?
My uncle organised a show and made my dad watch me on stage. He did not know I was the one because I was wearing a mask. I was announced as an artiste that just came back from Spain. My dad was watching and clapping but when I removed my mask, he almost collapsed. He did not believe that it was his daughter that people, including him, were applauding and cheering. That was the day my dad changed his mind about my career in music. Today, they will travel anywhere around the world to watch me perform.
Tell us about the Spanish Girls’ group that you belong to in Spain?
Spanish Girls is a female musician group. We are five girls in the group and I am the only black girl. We are Latin but many people tend to compare us with Spice Girls. They also have a black girl in their group just like I am the only black girl in Spanish Girls group. Spice Girls are in the UK while we are in Spain and we tour more among the Latin speaking countries like Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil. We sing in Spanish while the Spice Girls sing in English. We are proud that people talk about us and even compare us with the Spice Girls. It means that we are doing something good because Spice Girls is one of the most wonderful girl band groups in the world.
What is happening with the Spanish Girls at present? Why are you going solo?
You know how it is with girls bands. There is always one or two things happening, one of the girls got pregnant, another got married and things like that. So, for now, we are on break. Even Spice Girls were not steady, they came and went, that is just the way it is with girls band.
How many siblings do you have?
I come from a very big family. I have five sisters and four brothers. I am the second right now; I used to be the third. One of my brothers is one of the Junior Lions team in my country. He is a goalkeeper.